What makes a city, a city? Although the unfolding, lengthy beach at the foot of the city helps, it’s not that. The answer is simply its people; the ones living in it and livening it up and giving it a soul.
Imagine a city where people greet their closest friends and strangers they’ve never met in the same fashion; with smiling faces and firm hugs. You can almost touch the sincerity in the air when you hear the musical word “Hola!” exchanged between complete strangers. Try saying it with a sulking face and you’ll discover that you can never do it. The face muscles won’t allow it. Not in Valencia anyway. English is spoken very little to none. Connecting to people with zero aid from language, befriending them with pure emotions, is indeed priceless. The term “language barrier” never exists there. Perhaps, this is because the city houses a mix of cultures; it’s a tiny mosaic from a world map of diverse nations.
On one of my upcoming blog entries, I will describe every single person that has made a positive impact on my life there, not because I don’t want to forget them (which will never happen) but because I want the whole world ( or the people who read my blog) to meet them. (The idea sounds boring for people who don’t know me or them but you can always choose not to read one blog entry) 😉
Valencia is a floral city and it seems to be the nature is winning the war against concrete in this city. Flowers bloom, plants and trees that are scattered everywhere brings pleasant aromas as well as the needed shade in a burning city. Massive, ancient trees stand like city guards, waving away the heat.
The people are true mediterraneans; they are extra friendly and will do everything they can to help a confused tourist although the language barrier is a serious issue. But when hearts are synced, communication finds its way; smiling is universal.
Food is pretty cheap in the city compared to other European cities. For 2 or 3 Euros you can have a sandwich and good coffee almost anywhere. 2 melons cost 1 euro for God’s sake.
And of course gastronomy. Everything is delicious in the city of great paella. My advice is that eat nothing but lettuce for a week prior to coming here or else you’ll be a few pounds heavier when you get back.
I have never been a true football fan but I’ve always admired stylish edifices no matter what purpose they serve as they give a city, a lively spirit like the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, home of Valencia FC. Enough of football talk.
My day started in flaming Ankara, continued on planes and airports and finally ended in breezy Valencia. Although the city, lies in the south by the seaside, it didn’t feel disturbingly hot thanks to the trees sheltering the streets from the blazing sun. Ok, now I feel this is becoming rather like small talk. First talking about football and now the weather!
So, let me skip to the interesting bits. What’s the city and it’s people like?
The airport is no bigger than a sizely village square with only a couple of parked planes, which is actually fine because I hate wasting time getting out of the airport. However, the problem is that nobody at the airport seemed to speak English. Not the passport police, not the customs officer who wanted me to explain a bag of medication in my luggage ( like flu medication and vitamin pills…and many more that I had packed as I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find medication in case I got sick ) or the friendly taxi driver who took me to the city centre. It wasn’t much different in the city either. Only a handful of people spoke English. However, all the people I encountered were friendly and eager to help. It motivated me to learn some basic Spanish. Tomorrow, I’ll try that.